Why is adult social care so important? Ultimately, we are living longer. By 2050, 24.8 per cent of the population will be aged 65+ according to the ONS, that’s up from 10.8 per cent in 1950. Also, over half of adult social care is now given to those of working age.
That’s thousands upon thousands of older and disabled people who do and will need care and support.
They’ll also need care workers, of which we have a shortage thanks to poor wages and the impact of Brexit.
Councils have less money to spend on social care than they did in 2010. Years of Tory cuts has seen £7.7 billion removed from social care.
Ten wasted years since the Dilnot Commission reported on reforms to the social care system and two more since the Prime Minister pledged to “fix social care, once and for all”, and where are we?
All the Conservative government has come up with is a short-term injection of funding for the current system by increasing national insurance (NI) contributions – a regressive form of taxation that kicks in at a lower level than income tax, affecting those who can least afford it.
The rate drops as incomes rise and people stop paying after the state pension age, putting a disproportionate burden on the working young, the very people we will need to keep our care system working.
This tax rise will mean a landlord renting out dozens of properties will not pay any more but their tenants working in full-time jobs will.
Not only has the government broken its promises and failed to address the funding crisis, they have committed to hammering working people as part of a triple whammy of tax rises, universal credit cuts and energy price rises.
We have to deal with the care crisis, but in the right way. Labour is committed to building a National Care Service that works for everyone, based on fairness and responsibility, not on targeting working people.
Our priorities are to provide dignity and security in old age, support disabled people to live independently, and end the postcode lottery of care.
Boris’s plans will hurt working people and fail to address the care crisis, so let’s hope he adopts Labour’s plans, and does “fix things once and for all”.
Councillor John Allcock is the joint Labour opposition leader on Brighton and Hove City Council.